3 employee benefit trends for 2021 you need to know about

2020 was a year full of experiences due to the pandemic’s unexpected arrival, both for the better and the worse, and a lot of companies have adapted to changing benefits at work for their employees. Here are some benefits for you that will definitely come in handy this year. But what are benefits, and how exactly can you take advantage of them?

Some of those needs have warranted an overhaul of current employee benefits packages such as more flexible time-off options, and so forth. 

Therefore, 2021 will be forever changed! 

While employee benefits are often regurgitated in training sessions and open meetings and not at all exciting to learn about, if that’s your thought process to ignore them, you are putting yourself at a disadvantage! 

Instead, put yourself in the driver’s seat to start right out of the gates when 2021 rolls around so that you know what’s up and what to do to leverage these employee benefits trends of 2021 we are going to tell you all about! 

According to an Employee Insurance group, here’s a list of the top three employee benefits trends you should know about! 

  1. Telehealth and Virtual Care 
  2. Mental Health Programs 
  3. PTO or Sick Leave 

Telehealth and virtual care

Health is the most salient issue on everyone’s minds, and it is without a doubt that this is the number one target of employers to help their workers in light of Covid. 

Nearly all companies will offer some virtual health services that will allow employees to seek medical help for minor health challenges that may arise. While this has been an ongoing trend with the advent of technology over the last several years in the healthcare industry, social distancing guidelines have augmented its need as of late. 

Therefore, in-person attendance isn’t necessary for all appointments, keeping people safe from unintended exposure to the virus. 

Mental health programs

Mental health since the start of the pandemic lockdown in April has been a catalyst in the rise of challenges people face daily regarding deteriorating mental health and wellness, including but not limited to anxiety, depression, and so forth, according to the CDC. 

Therefore, in a reactionary measure, Employers have been actively equipping employee benefits packages to give employees more tools to access mental health services and be a major attention spot in the future. 

Employee assistance programs regarding behavioral health counseling have seen promising enrollment for 2021 and look to be serviced through telehealth and virtual care options, as well as entertaining in-person appointments as necessary.

And if you’re enrolled in an HSA-eligible healthcare plan, you may be able to offset out-of-pocket expenses for mental health care if your physician states it’s a medical necessity.

Paid sick leave and PTO

This is the one that everyone loves! Even before the pandemic, employees valued this as one of the top priorities they desired from their benefits package. Therefore, with Covid added to the mix, it has become a more robust and apparent trend.  

While paid sick leave varies on state and local government legislation, many employers have been stepping in to ensure their employees are afforded opportunities to distance themselves for health reasons and recuperate from COVID-19 infections without fear of missing pay. 

While Sick leave and PTO are often confused, companies want to remove the incentive of reporting to work sick by separating the two into different categories, making it a more worker-friendly approach. While caps, payouts, and carryovers are areas that still need to be fine-tuned down the road, expect to see paid sick leave and PTO to be augmented in 2021. 

What’s the verdict?

There’s no doubt in our mind that COVID has played a role in how employers are redesigning employee benefits packages, and setting up new, invigorated trends heading into 2021. 

With all the adversity, the average employee is facing; employers are stepping up to the plate to bring real-life solutions to real-life problems. The 2020 Pandemic needs no further discussion, but the one “Benefit” is perhaps some of the serendipities such as work from home, tela medicine, and so on. 

There’s a great reason to be optimistic these days because worker’s health and safety have become a movement in itself that companies are willing to take on as a part of their corporate social responsibility agenda as we continue to navigate this pandemic.

Holistically addressing health challenges, minor to serious in all accessible means, pioneering a renewed attention to mental health and wellness, and ensuring employees that they don’t have to risk it all to get ends meet, are areas that needed help, more so these days, and that’s what is happening around the country. 

While it can’t be exactly said to what extent that these new upgrades in policies will cover the downfalls of employee life nor how long it will be in effect, it’s something you should consider and know about the next time you’re at work!